Saturday, July 21, 2012

Cooking with Beer: Grilled Pizza !

What's better than drinking beer? Cooking with beer! That's because you can eat it WHILE enjoying a beer with the fruits of your labor! Double the fun!

The classic combination is the focus of today's recipe: Pizza & Beer! Yum!

This pizza dough is super easy to whip up and takes many of the same ingredients you'll find in an average pantry (and beer fridge!).

There are many variations on this recipe - you can go ahead and mix up the beer, use wheat flour, add herbs and spices to the dough - you name it! Here's the basic dough, and I'll leave it to you to adapt it.

Pizza Dough:

1 1/3 cups beer
3 3/4 cups Better for Bread flour (hey, if you don't have it and use All Purpose, no one will know!)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 tsp Active Dry Yeast/Rapid Rise Yeast

I'm not particularly picky about the order I add my ingredients, so I chose to add all of the dry ingredients plus the olive oil into the mixer bowl.

Next up is the key addition: beer. Looking at the beer on tap (a Kolsch) and the full beer fridge, it was a tough decision. After much internal debate, I finally chose to use a Bottletree Blonde in this recipe - I think its will be a perfect compliment to the sauce and cheese!

Before adding the beer, I do use a small whisk and stir it up a bit to get most of the carbonation out.

Mix all of the ingredients until a nice ball of dough forms.

Being lazy, I choose to let the dough rise in the same bowl. Give it a quick spray with cooking spray, cover and place in a warm spot for about 3 hours to rise.

It should be about double in size when its ready to roll out.

Personally, I think grilled pizza is the way to go, so that's how I'll be finishing this recipe off - outside on the grill. Of course, if grilling isn't your thing, it can be finished off in the oven.

This recipe makes enough for two thick crust pizzas or three thinner crust pizzas, so divide the dough accordingly. I chose to make two: a cheese and basil pie and a classic pepperoni.

Roll out the dough, placing on a floured surface. Lightly brush with olive oil and let rest for about 15 minutes.

While its resting, go ahead and preheat your grill on medium (or your oven to 400). If you're cooking on the grill, I like to have my sauce preheated and the cheese ready to go since it cooks so quickly. Go ahead and do this now, if you're grilling.

Place your dough on oiled grill grates, for about 5 to 10 min - keep an eye on it, time will vary greatly depending on how hot your grill is.

Flip, and then add sauce and cheese. It only takes 5 min or so after you flip it, so keep an eye on it!

For browner cheese, you can take it off the grill at this point and slip it under the broiler for a minute or two... keep an eye on it if you do though! It'll go from nicely browned to black in a second (yes, I speak from experience)!!

Now, pick out a complementing beer, sit back, and enjoy! And, yes, that's a new favorite for me: Somersault by New Belgium. YUM!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Beer Review: New Belgium Somersault

Verdict: Get up. Go to the Store. Buy all the Somersault you can find.

The Facts:

Brewery: New Belgium
Beer: Somersault
Availability: Summer Seasonal

Rating: 5 out of 5 pints

Want Proof? See - we can't keep it in stock! ANOTHER empty box :)

Seriously, I don't know what you are waiting for. STOP READING. Ok, well, you can finish reading if you REALLY want to... but then you should go to the store and get some!!

I'm not usually this adamant about beer... I reserve this status for a select few beers (three come to mind...) but this is definitely a MUST-HAVE in your beer fridge. It is a perfect summer beer. Of course, it could be the ginger addition - I'm a sucker for that - but to be honest, I'm surprised by my love of the beer. I'm not an apricot fan at all, and the idea of of them in my beer doesn't make me all that happy... But I swear it works! It really works.

The backstory: I stumbled across this beer after a brewery tour at Highland. During the visit I had a chance to taste Razor Wit (their summer seasonal) and wanted to pick some up to bring home. A couple of stops at nearby stores and NADA! As a consolation I decided to pick up a six-pack of this New Belgium in anticipation of their new Asheville brewery. It didn't last long. Really. It was gone in days! 

It doesn't stop there, I happened to mention it to a friend.. who went and picked some up. She texted later to say it was awesome!

Personally, I think this is the perfect brew to try on your more mainstream beer friends - if they are a craft beer newbie, its a great way to introduce them to how flavorful a beer can be -- without overwhelming them.

You can find it in bottles (perfect for your backyard relaxing) or on draft ... either way you can't go wrong !!!!

I only have one complaint: NO FAIR NEW BELGIUM!!! You have a guy's Somersault Tshirt and none for the ladies!!! #sowrong

PS, and if you don't believe me, even my IPA loving husband likes the flavors in this beer too! See his review of it on tap.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Infallible Sign of Well-Brewed Beer!

Just who claimed "Uniformly good taste is the infallible sign of well brewed beer"? While I haven't found the definitive origins, advertisements throughout the early 1900's featured it for numerous breweries around the U.S.

Most historians have widely credited Anheuser-Busch with the origin of the saying - and it could well be true. The brewery certainly ran an advertising campaign featuring "Taste the Test" nationwide though dozens and dozens of newspapers in the span of a few years. However, many smaller breweries also featured - word for word - the exact same slogan. Which came first? It could be a chicken-egg conundrum. Or, perhaps, its a case of imitation is the best form of flattery.

Either way, enjoy a stroll down memory lane with a few advertisements from across the nation.

Daily Illinois State Register, Sept. 8, 1905

Bay City Times, August 25, 1905

Bay City Times, June 30, 1905

Bellingham Herald, March 6, 1910

Sunday, July 15, 2012

DON'T listen to your recipes NOT to try

I have to admit, browsing beer recipes can be *almost* as much fun as enjoying a nice cool one in a glass... but when you're seeking out those unique and appealing recipes you might just stumble across a bit of brewing history that is best forgotten!

I'd have to be foolish to think this "tried & true" recipe printed in the newspaper over 135 years ago is a keeper!

Lowell Daily Citizen and News July 18, 1874

Eggs, in beer? Oh no, I'm not trying it any time soon - are you??